Google today is pulling the covers off Google Cloud Storage Nearline, a cloud service that could appeal to companies considering backing up certain data in a public cloud.

Google is emphasizing in today’s announcement that the service won’t cost much, yet it will work quickly.

Google Cloud Storage Nearline will cost 1 cent per month for each GB of data at rest, Google product manager Avtandil Garakanidze wrote in a blog post on the news. Meanwhile, the service will be able to retrieve data in about three seconds, Garakanidze wrote. On top of that, Nearline automatically spreads out copies of data across multiple data centers, ensuring the data will be available when companies need it.

The new service, which is available now in beta, could compete with Glacier, the cold-storage service available from public-cloud market leader Amazon Web Services. And if Google moves quickly, it might even beat Microsoft, a provider of technology respected by big businesses the world over, to come out with a cold-storage option. Just five months ago, researchers from Microsoft, which fields the Azure cloud service, produced an academic paper on their Pelican system for “exascale cold data storage.”

Generally speaking, companies have been coming around to the idea of cold storage, because of an increaseing acknowledgment that data ought to be stored in tiers based on how often the data needs to be accessed. For data that needs to be around for a long time but doesn’t necessarily need to get delivered in a small fraction of a second, cold storage can be just right. Facebook, for one, has been a prominent advocate of cold storage, and the arrival of Glacier and now Google’s Nearline suggest that more companies are interested in cloud-based implementations.

For Google, if Nearline picks up a few solid enterprise customers, it could prove useful for the tech giant’s campaign to become known as a provider of cloud services for big companies — and not just a company with services for consumers and small businesses.

And wouldn’t you know — Google is teaming up with several storage companies in the introduction of Nearline. Partners in the rollout include Geminare, Iron Mountain, NetApp, and Symantec/Veritas, Garakanidze wrote in the blog post.